Friday, December 21, 2007

Good News In Iraq... (Report To Congress)

The DOD issued its tenth quarterly report on "Measuring Security and Stability In Iraq" (Download the full text here). The news seems pretty good on this front. Highlights include:

  • "There has been significant security progress, momentum in reconciliation at the local and provincial levels and economic progress. However substantial the security progress made since the last report, sustained and durable progress depends on further progress in attaining political and economic objectives."
  • "The “tribal awakening” movement has grown as an increasing number of sheikhs—Sunni and Shi’a—have chosen to stop resisting the Coalition."
  • "The number of security incidents has fallen significantly and is now at levels last seen in the summer of 2005. Although ethno-sectarian violence continues to be a concern, overall civilian casualties, enemy attacks and total improvised explosive device attacks have decreased markedly over the reporting period. For example, the number of high-profile attacks in Iraq declined by over 50% since March 2007."
  • "While the GoI’s lack of progress on key legislation has been disappointing and has hindered “top-down” reconciliation, “bottom-up” reconciliation initiatives gained momentum as tribal and local outreach efforts expanded during this quarter."
  • "The Iraqi economy continues to improve and overcome many challenges to stability and growth. Estimated nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is US$60.9 billion. Real GDP will increase by an estimated 6.3% in 2007 as growth in the non-oil sector continues. The inflation rate has continued to decline due to the Central Bank of Iraq’s tight monetary policy implemented through appreciation of the Iraqi dinar. Year-on-year headline inflation as of October 2007 is 20.4%, which is down from 52.8% one year ago and year-to-date inflation is 4.2%."
  • "The key to long-term success will be the GoI’s ability to capitalize upon local gains, pass key legislation and promote national reconciliation."
The report contains a number of useful charts and graphs like the one below that indicates that the perception among Iraqis of the level of insecurity in the country is worse than the reality:

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